Albanian president cancels local elections amid political tension

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A demonstrator throws a flare toward Albanian police officers during an anti-government protest in Tirana (AP)

Albania’s president has cancelled upcoming municipal elections, citing the need to reduce political tensions in the country.

President Ilir Meta said he acted because “the actual circumstances do not provide necessary conditions for true, democratic, representative and all-inclusive elections” on June 30.

Thousands of Albanians who support the political opposition assembled for an anti-government protest on Saturday.

Albania protest
Thousands of Albanian opposition supporters took part in an anti-government protest (AP)

After sunset, tear gas and flares clouded the streets of Tirana.

The opposition, led by the centre-right Democratic Party, accuses the left-wing government of links to organised crime and vote rigging.

The government denies the allegations.

Opposition leaders are demanding an early general election.

The United States and the European Union have urged them to disavow violence and take part in dialogue with government representatives to resolve the political crisis.

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